BlackBerry Won’t Make Budget Smartphones

Posted by Mister Mobility

This evening, I was mentioned in a tweet that immediately arrested my attention. The link was to an article in which the new BlackBerry CEO was quoted as saying the following:

“You will not see us getting into the50-, 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry.” Source

I have never been fooled into thinking that any business acts in the best interests of the consumer by default. Truth is, they act in the best interests of their bottom-line. Sometimes that just happens to align with the interests of the consumer.

In fairness to BlackBerry, they have never been about ultra-low budget phones, so Mr. Thorsten has said nothing new. However, I do hope that we will see BlackBerry 10 smartphones in the price range of the Curves 8520, 9220 and 9320 soon. Either that or they can kiss the developing world market goodbye. BlackBerry would be making a mistake to ignore the price range that shot them into global prominence. Yes; they still offer budget Curve devices running OS 7, but then, the jury is out on how well those will help them achieve their goals of recovery. Perhaps, in BlackBerry’s books, mobile consumers in the developing world are second class users after all.

Like the original article says, at least Nokia has the Asha range, not to mention some new budget Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8. What do you think? Do have your say, people.

9 comments

  1. Pride goes before a fall. Even “almighty” Apple are going budget pretty soon. There’s no much market in the developed countries as the smartphone industry has already penetrated deep. The next frontier is the developing countries. Perhaps Thorsten is thinking the other way round. Since they’ve penetrated the developing countries, next stop is the developed nations. But he’s making a mistake because BlackBerry needs to consolidate their market here. Trying to do that with OS7 is like telling us in our faces that we are fools. The earlier they make budget phones running BB10, the better for them.

  2. Mobility, you’re very correct about the fact that mid-range budge phones shot RIM into prominence over the years, but you have to understand that the margins on those phones are almost non-existent and are not enough to sustain their business, especially when you factor in the lost subscribers’ fees from BIS on BB10.

    I doubt BlackBerry is taking those markets (Nigeria) for granted, even though, it’s an emerging market, they realize it’s a very important one for them, cos think about it; there’s lots of money to be made. The catch is that BB10 will not be as widely sold as the Bolds, Curves etc. due to affordability. They will still find success in their Curve and Bold lines, as long as they keep supporting, which I think they will for the next little while.

  3. Its not a bad policy by skipping the sub-100 dollars price range considering that they won’t be getting a share of the blackberry internet service anymore with the new data plans offered by telecoms.

    Apple doesn’t sell low end devices and is doing very well. I don’t think blackberry should go below 35,000 for now. Delivering a good experience on any new blackberry device should be the priority.

  4. The early signs of BBZ10 selling well are getting to the head of Thorstein. At a time the emerging markets like Nigeria are the saving grace of a lagging BB, they now want to play premium. Ok, we shall see. They are in for a rude awakening when the intoxication of Z10 wears off. Haba, even the Oga patapata Samsung is not abandoning low-end markets any time soon. Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo is on the way. What kind of coffee is BB now drinking to make them want to commit suicide?

  5. What Mr Thorsten said isn’t incorrect, as Blackberry have never been into the budget range.

    But let’s look at this a bit differently; does Blackberry need multiple lower spec’d phones? No. They do not need an 8520 AND 9300 AND 9320. They perhaps only need two. Let’s work on the premise that the Q10 replaces the Bold range. They only really need one, lower spec’d BB10 to cover the Curve range.

    I think Blackberry know they have to make a quick recovery, so understandably for now they won’t want to spread themselves too thin. But I very much doubt they are ignoring that segment of the market that boosted their sales in previous years.

    I don’t see the Z10 as a business phone, they’re not Apple in that regard. But a lower spec’d Q10? Probably. So long as they don’t make the mistake they made before which made getting BB Curve business contract less attractive than an iPhone (and now a Windows Phone) one.

  6. Perhaps, in BlackBerry’s books, mobile consumers in the developing world are second class users after all.

    But are we really not “second class users”?
    With more than two-thirds of blackberry owners in nigeria using “second-hand” blackberry devices, what better name to describe us?

    Let the CEO sell his OS 10 devices for as high an amount as he likes, we are ever patient and we shall always buy when naija boys yonder start sending used ones as usual 😀

  7. … BlackBerry would be making a mistake to ignore the price range that shot them into global prominence. …

    Shot them into global prominence? I don’t think so. Maybe, helped sustain them when they were going through a bad patch. The truth is that Third World countries have always been secondary consideration for these manufacturers, especially the American manufacturers and BlackBerry only became interested in the Third World countries when they were rejected by Europe and North America. Even Nokia, the only Manufacturer that appears
    to have true concern for developing countries have dropped their commitment to Third World countries in pursuit of North American market.

    And I’m not even sure the Third World countries will be so interested in BlackBerry phones without the attached cheap internet connection packages.

  8. Lets write it down,

    The have no choice,

    they will release a cheaper BB10 device but certainly wont be as cheap as the curve range.

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